Monday, August 06, 2012

I know why you're writing to me. Do you?

Incoming query today: I am writing to you in search of help in the process of positioning my (novel) in the marketplace, promotion and marketing it. 

Before you send a query to an agent,  be clear about what an agent does. It's not promotion and marketing. It's not positioning it in the marketplace. It's also not editing, proof reading or a bunch of other stuff.

My job is to sell your book to a publisher.  Other parts of the publication process may happen including promotion and marketing, editing, and proofing, but those aren't why you query an agent.

If you expect your agent to be your publicist and marketing expert you're in for a really unhappy surprise.


Please don't let your desire to sound businesslike make you look uninformed.  Just tell me about the book you wrote.

12 comments:

Helena Halme said...

I guess we writers try to stand out from the crowd which is why we invent new ways to say: 'I would love you to represent me.' It's silly, really, I agree.

Helena

Wry Wryter said...

"Before you send a query to an agent, be clear about what an agent does."

You've helped me see clearly but...ah...I guess that means you don't do windows.

Jeanette Pekala said...

Very informative.

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

Unless by "windows" you mean "driving writers to distraction, tears, pantless hallucinatory wandering and chemical dependence with sadistic perfectionism and threats of chomping, but ALSO posting bail and smoothing things over with your parole officer"--if that's what you mean, then maybe windows.

BP said...

Ack. Oh my. If you're going to butcher a query conceptually, at least do it in wording that would entice them to read the actual manuscript???

pjcasselman said...

How about, "Publishing companies won't talk to me without an agent. I found you on a website that lists agents. Since you have the title, would you escort my manuscript through the door?" This would probably fail, but honesty rings from it.
Of course, if these same writers were up on murder charges, they'd hire a divorce attorney because a lawyer is a lawyer, right?

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

NotaWarriorPrincess: Pantless hallucinatory wandering! I hope it never comes to that! *checks to make sure I'm wearing pants* *PJ's count as pants, right?*

M. Kempher said...

Not to mention it was a really awkward sentense. I had to read it twice.

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

Mittens--if you have them on your LEGS, you're golden.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Janet, Could you help me find a shore home? And a rare 1920's player piano? Oh, yeah, and a could you design the cover to my new book and rewrite Chapter Four for me? Thanks. That would be great.

Redleg said...

I'd like to enlist you in my campaign to auto-query agents hundreds of times until they "get it." Together, we will batter down the walls of the publishing industry.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Either this guy is misinformed about what you do or is trying to sound very informed by fancying up what should be a simple "please consider representing my book". (I suspect both.) Overwriting is a common pitfall, I'm afraid.